Coordinate with other local organizations
Families multitask. So they’re more likely to see more value in a health fair than a stand-alone vaccination clinic. You do not have to go it alone if you coordinate with other local organizations. For instance, September is preparedness month. A preparedness clinic could include vaccines as well as tips from the fire department and emergency kit planning. A backto-school theme can extend this type of clinic even more. We also all love a little “value for our dollar.” So consider some unique partnerships. If families get more than a vaccine, they’re more likely to see value in it. Support your local health departments to partner with local businesses to raffle off backpacks full of supplies to families getting all the school-required routine immunizations.
Recognize the pitfalls of family involvement
We live in strange times when something that should be a no-brainer can be fraught with blow back. It’s important to be honest about what a vocal and visible family may face when telling their story or supporting vaccines. Don’t scare them off, but do prepare them and give them tools to successfully navigate what can sometimes be turbulent waters.
Some helpful hints:
- Suggest they make their personal social media accounts more private before elevating their visibility.
- Teach them how to report any cyber abuse.
- If they own businesses, suggest they disable reviews on social media.
- Touch base with them regularly to ask if they need any support.
- When bringing families to a public hearing, have a private room for them to meet in before and afterward. Be sure to move through and exit public buildings as a group. Make contact with security before any hearings in case escorts are needed.
- Document and film any bad anti-vaccine behavior, whether online or in-person.
- When posting family stories online, give Voices for Vaccines and other partners a heads up so that they can monitor posts for attacks and keep the conversations as positive as possible.
- Remember that anti-vaccine opposition is loud – it can be unnerving but it is almost never physically aggressive. Shield families from the noise whenever possible.
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